UFC 153 got underway with an unlikely slugfest contested between noted grapplers Cristiano Marcello and Reza Madadi.
Though both fighters landed many flush shots causing considerable damage, it was Marcello who was given the nod from two of three judges, good enough for a split-decision victory.
What We'll Remember About This Fight
It was a terrific fight featuring striking action from bell to bell. A heck of a way to get the UFC 153 started.
We'll also remember the fight because it signifies Marcello's first UFC victory. A victory that comes over 15 years after his professional MMA debut.
What We Learned About Marcello
He actually has some pretty decent striking offense. He mixed up his attacks very well, did a little damage from the clinch and changed levels quite nicely.
But, he did once again show an inability to avoid damage. He kept his chin up for most of the match, and utilized very little head movement. Though he showed some real toughness hanging in against Madadi's onslaught, striking defense remains a major area of concern for Marcello.
What We Learned About Madadi
Like Marcello, Madadi ate a lot of hard shots during the fight, so we at least know he's tough.
But, he was unable to put away an opponent that was staggered on multiple occasions, so we also learned that he isn't the most powerful hitter out there.
What's Next for Marcello
Though the fight was exciting and the win meaningful, Marcello still sits outside the division's top-tier. How about a tussle with Jamie Varner to get him a little closer?
What's Next for Madadi
A match against Anthony Njokuani could produce an intriguing clash of styles.